The Pentacon Six System
by TRA
Lens Data Summary

Arsat lenses

The Arsat 45mm shift lens with Pentacon Six mount

The Arsat 45mm f/3.5 shift lens

On this page we report on the Arsat 45mm shift lens.  Visual examination without disassembling the lens appears to confirm that – like all the 45mm shift and shift/tilt lenses advertised for the Pentacon Six mount – this lens is based on the optical elements of the Mir-26B wide-angle lens.  We therefore assume that the following data is accurate.

& lens name
Max aperture
& focal length
Elements / groups Closest focus
Max shift
Filter thread
Arsat 45mm shift
f/3.5 / 45
8 / 7
12 (1)
82 × 0.75
84 (2)
750 ? (3)

(1) With the 45mm shift and shift/tilt lenses, some vignetting is likely to be observable on the full 6 × 6 format with shifts in excess of 10mm.  However, in contrast with the Hartblei lenses, on the Arsat 45mm lens, there is no colour coding to remind users of this.
(2) The rear  element of this lens extends back beyond the rear edge of the lens mount for Pentacon Six cameras, so the lens should never be stood upright on its back without a rear lens cap first being fitted in order to protect the rear element.
(3) It has not yet been possible to weigh this lens.  The Hartblei 45mm shift lens is reported to weigh 750 g, and the weight of the Arsat lens is likely to be very similar.

The Arsat 45mm shift lens has the designation “MC ARSAT PCS”, the last three letters apparently standing for “Perspective Control Shift”.  This is a shift/only lens, with no tilt capability.  In the image to the right, it is shown fully shifted.  The nominal maximum shift with all shift versions of the 45mm Arsenal Mir-26B lens elements is 12mm.  However, this particular lens shifts a maximum of 11.5 mm.  As users are advised not to shift the lens more than 10mm when shooting in the full 6 × 6 format, this should not be viewed as a serious limitation.

Arsat has opted for some bright colours for the numerals and text on this lens.  On the name ring on the front, the letters “PCS” are in yellow, and this colour is used for the shift distances on the shift ring.  I note that on the aperture ring (at the top of the lens in this picture), the largest and smallest apertures (f/3.5 and f/22, respectively) are also in yellow.  I did not acquire an operating manual with this lens, and so don’t know if the use of this colour for these aperture values has any significance.

Above the numerals on the shift ring, a straight, white vertical line is the index mark both for shifting and for focussing.  To either side of this line, numerals are engraved in dark green.  These indicate the depth of field at different apertures.  However, they are not particularly easy to read because of the dark colour.  (For an explanation of how to use the depth of field indicators on lenses, see here.)

On the next ring up in this photograph, the infinity mark is in red and the distances in metres are easy to see in large, white numerals.  The rubber studded ring in front of these numerals is of course the focussing ring.

As on the original (non-shift) Arsenal Mir-26B, the aperture control ring is towards the front of the lens.  Again, the numerals are large and clear.

Unlike the Arsenal Mir-26B, this Arsat shift version of the lens does have multi-coating, and the letters “MC” are on the front ring, in red, as is common with many manufacturers.

Like the 45mm shift and shift/tilt lenses from Hartblei and Wiese, the lens mount rotates – so it is possible to shift down as well as up, sideways, or even in other diagonal directions if required.  In all the shift (and shift/tilt) lenses that I have personally handled so far, rotation is the full 360°, with click stops every 15°.

With the exception of the rare 55mm Super-Angulon Tilt/Shift lens from Schneider-Kreuznach, all other shift and shift/tilt lenses for the Pentacon Six have a manual preset diaphragm.  This 45mm Arsat lens has a détente between the maximum aperture of f/3.5 and the next full aperture position, f/4, an détentes at full and half stops down to f/11, and then only full stops to f/22.  (By contrast, the Hartblei PCS 45mm f/3.5 shift-only lens has détentes at half and full stops throughout its entire range all the way down to f/22.)

Focussing, the shift ring and the aperture ring all operate smoothly on this lens.


Comparison with other 45mm shift-only lenses

In the following pictures, we show the Arsat 45mm shift lens along with the Wiese and the Hartblei 45mm shift-only lenses, in all cases in the order, from left to right, Wiese – Arsat – Hartblei.

Of these three lenses, the Arsat is the only one that has fitted a rubberised studded cover to the shift ring.

All three lenses are labelled “MC” and “PCS”.

Here, the same three lenses are shown fully shifted.

Rear view of the three lenses, fully shifted.
The lever on the left in this picture, and on the right in the picture to the left of it, is the release that enables the mount to be rotated, to enable the shift to be made in any direction.
Users will find that it is much easier to rotate the lens once it is mounted on the camera.

All three lenses are multicoated, as can to some extent be seen in this picture.  The multi-coating on the Wiese and Hartblei lenses appears to be identical, which should not surprise us, since the two companies worked closely together.  (See more information on this here.)  The Wiese/Hartblei coating appears to be deeper than the Arsat coating.  However, there is almost certainly no measurable difference in terms of the results obtained with each of these three lenses.

This photograph also shows that the front elements of these three lens all appear to have exactly the same shape – as we would expect, seeing that they are all, apparently, made with the elements of the same Arsenal lens.

The image to the right of the rear of the Arsat lens reveals that the Pentacon Six mount ring has not been anodised black but merely painted (!!), and that some of the paint has flaked off, revealing the bare metal beneath.  In this detail, this Arsat lens is far inferior to the Hartblei version, and such a decision by the manufacturers reveals that at the time (the year 2000, according to the serial number) they had not fully overcome the Soviet mentality to what is acceptable quality.


The image on the left shows a black spec between the lens elements.  It is almost certainly a piece of paint that has flaked off from an internal portion of the barrel.  While it is too small to have a significant impact on pictures, such things should not happen.  It certainly reveals that, with this lens at least, Arsat was not yet up to international standards in lens manufacture.


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© TRA August 2017 Revised 29/08/17